Mr. Mom is Dead … Long Live Co-Parenting

Mr. Mom starring Michael Keaton and Teri GarHollywood may be obsessed with remakes, but the industry would tie itself in knots trying to bring back “Mr. Mom.”

The 1983 comedy starred Michael Keaton as a man forced to take on his wife’s chores when he loses his job. Cooking. Cleaning. Doing laundry. What husband would even attempt such a thing?

How ’bout plenty of them in 2013?

A new Pew Research Study shatters the whole Mr. Mom/Ms. Dad divide.

Dads are doing more housework and child care; moms more paid work outside the home. Neither has overtaken the other in their “traditional” realms, but their roles are converging, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of long-term data on time use.

That sounds about right in our household. My wife and I never had a strategy session, one with pie charts, Power Point presentations and tchotchkes, to decide who would do what chores around the house once we had kids. It just … happened.

We split cooking fairly evenly depending on our work schedules, although it’s clear I enjoy making dinner more than the Missus. My wife handles the laundry. I dump the garbage around the house. She does most of the bills. I run the dishwasher and keep the kitchen clean. I would say “spotless,” but I won’t start lying on this blog now.

Does this make me less of a real man, the kind that scratches himself, watches SportsCenter and can name every Super Bowl champion from the last 10 years? I don’t think so. I don’t care, to be blunt. It keeps our marriage humming, and that’s what matters most.

I do think fathers bring something unique to a child’s upbringing, something the average pappy, including yours truly, may not completely understand. I simply know doing “women’s” chores won’t dent it one little bit.


  1. Maureen Toto says

    As a stay at home mom from a different era, I can understand how mom needs help. I think it is wonderful for the children to bond with dad. He is an integral part of their lives, as well as a role model for their future behavior.

  2. JMK says

    You’re kind of describing chez nous. I’d only add to respect the Dad-Hunter-Gatherer/Mom-Feeder-Nurturer norm, even when not following it to the letter. Besides, sometimes Dad irrepressibly has to go out and “bag a deer” and Mom just has to “bake cookies”.

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